RCEM response to NHSE investigation into winter A&E data

4 April 2018

Responding to details of NHS England’s internal investigation into the accuracy of the four-hour target data, Dr Taj Hassan, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: 

“This investigation suggests that some A&E data was marginally inflated over winter. While the change in the monthly performance figures are not vast, the figures do not in any way do justice to the patient experience and awful conditions for staff in EDs this winter, which was already the worst on record.

“However, we are pleased that there is an increasing focus on getting accurate, consistent data on how our systems have performed. Improved quality of data will help show the reality of the situation our staff and patients face daily; highlighting the resourcing problems facing emergency care and the wider NHS. More importantly it allows for better collaborative planning to help improve matters in these tough times. 

“It is particularly important that four-hour target data is correctly measured. The major issue affecting our departments are the prolonged delays in Type 1 Emergency Departments and that should be the major focus of performance, not what is happening in Minor Injury Units.

“As we and others have said for several years, more work also needs to be done to ensure UK wide consistency in the measurement of 12 hour 'trolley waits', with the clock starting from the moment the patient arrives in the department rather than from when a decision has been made to admit.”